Friday, August 31, 2007

BBC still lying about Lebanon war casualties

Of all the distortions, half-truths and outright lies the BBC has published concerning the Middle East, one of the most egregious is its accounting of the casualties in last year's war between Israel and Hezbollah.

This story about an Israeli Arab who has died from wounds he received in a Hezbollah rocket attack during the war (I won't even get into what that says about Hezbollah's disregard for the lives of the people it claims to be fighting for) contains the following line:

Most of the 159 Israelis killed were soldiers. More than 1,000 Lebanese, most of them civilians, also died in the 34-day war.

The above line, or some variant of it, is inserted like a macro into every story about the Lebanon war that appears on the BBC's website. However, the most basic research shows that the claim that 'most' of the Lebanese casualties were civilians isn't true.

Most estimates, including those from the Lebanese government, the UN and Human Rights Watch put the total number of Lebanese dead – which includes both Hezbollah fighters and civilians – at between 1,000 and 1,200. While the Lebanese government figures didn't distinguish between civilians and fighters, its officials have estimated the number of Hezbollah dead at around 500, a figure with which the UN concurs. Israel claims to have killed at least 600 Hezbollah, while other estimates range from 700 t0 1,000. Links for all of the above references can be found here and here.

It is, of course, impossible to ascertain how many of the Lebanese casualties were civilian and how many were Hezbollah, given that Hezbollah hid and fought among civilians, its fighters often wore civilians clothes, and many of its wounded fighters were evacuated to Syria.

However, what is clear is that around half of the Lebanese casualties were Hezbollah fighters; in fact, if the lower figures for total Lebanese casualties and the upper figures for Hezbollah fighters are nearer the mark, then the majority of Lebanese casualties were Hezbollah. What clearly isn't true is the BBC's mantra that most of the Lebanese casualties were civilians.

The point of this post isn't to rehash the wider debate on civilian casualties in Lebanon or any other war, which has been well aired. The point is to draw attention to the fact that, more than a year after the war, the BBC continues to publish claims about civilian casualties which it must know to be false, and continues to play down the losses inflicted on Hezbollah.

The problems of the Middle East are intractable enough without the BBC – whose reports colour the perceptions of people around the world – constantly and deliberately distorting the debate, and demonising Israel at every turn.

UPDATE: Thanks to Theo Spark for the link, and welcome! I've been at this for exactly a month without attracting much attention, so if you've made it this far please stick around and check out some of my earlier stuff. You'll find amusing pictures of Barack Obama, comedy violence in Iraq, assorted Islamist high-jinks and more global warming hysteria than you can shake a stick at. Enjoy!

46 comments:

Fidothedog said...

Damn I hate the BBC, alas I have to pay through my licence tax for their bullshit to fed into my livingroom.

Mike said...

Fido, if you check back could you let me know how you found me? I don't have a clue how to promote this blog, so I've been firing out emails to various bloggers in the hope of getting a link. Thanks!

Will said...

Hi Mike,
Good blog - there can't be too many like this.

I got here from The Jawa Report: http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/189238.php

Other blogs I read on a regular basis that you might find interesting are http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/ for coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan and http://antigreen.blogspot.com/ for a counter point to the global warming hysteria.

Anonymous said...

I came here through My Pet Jawa

Anonymous said...

HotAir

novaculus said...

via Jawa

Anonymous said...

I'm here through Hot Air.

Jaguar b. p. said...

That is also absolutely true: most of the jews killed by Hezbollah were IDF combatants
while most of the Lebanese killed by the Zionist bandit state were civilians.
That shows you who the terrorists are

Ken said...

jaquar b. p. -- That you called the Israeli casualties 'jews' pretty much shows us who you are.

Think about the number of civilians that Hezbollah wanted to kill with their rockets. Think about the number of civilians that Hezbollah would have killed had they had the capabilities of the IDF.

Then think about how many Lebanese civilians the IDF could have killed had they wanted to and how many were actually killed because of Hezbollah's use of civilians as human shields.

There shouldn't be much question about who the terrorists are.

Oh, and I came here via Hot Air and I'll probably be back...

Anonymous said...

From HotAir where there is much more than hot air.

alexb said...

Hi Mike,
Arrived here via Hot Air.
Irish Canadian living in Toronto.
As a coincidence,my parents live in Bath, Ontario.
Good job on the blog!

Anonymous said...

I can here from a link on Hot Air. I'll keep on eye on your blog,it looks good.

straightwhiteteeth said...

I arrived via Theo Spark.

Marc said...

The world has no idea just how bad the BBC has become. I've been documenting their bias, lies and fabrications for years.

http://ussneverdock.blogspot.com/2005/01/bbc-is-turn-off-its-official.html

See here also.

http://www.biased-bbc.blogspot.com/

Not a sheep said...

Good to find your site, you seem to have some of the same preoccupations that I and many others in the blogosphere share.

www.notasheepmaybeagoat.blogspot.com

Bastard said...

Got here though Theo Spark. I think I'll be staying too.

Jaguar:
1. Your use of Zionist and Jew proves you are indeed, a fool. Israel is a Jewish state but the draft is universal and Israel has many Christians, Muslims and Atheists. Similarly Israel has proved in general to be a moderate Zionist state. They actually hold a lot less territory now than they have conquered.
2. Israel is not a bandit state but rather a UN created one that has expanded only after being attacked.
3. The IDF is rather more powerful than Hezbollah. Furthermore it was fighting on Lebanese territory, hence larger civilian casualties. It is further worth pointing out that Hezbollah troops hid amongst civilians which in a strictly moral sense is reprehensible and further goes some way to explaining larger Lebanese civilian casualties. Remember too that those civilians only died because Israel was forced to invade due to the failure of the Lebanese government to stop Hezbollah attacking Israel and its citizens.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,
You were linked at www.hotair.com which is how I got here.

Laura SF said...

I came here via yourish.com (Meryl Yourish). Nice article!

Lord Nazh© said...

Want to know how to spot an idiot?

"That is also absolutely true: most of the jews killed by Hezbollah were IDF combatants
while most of the Lebanese killed by the Zionist bandit state were civilians.
That shows you who the terrorists are"

Easy, read what he writes...

Got here from Jawa :)

Anonymous said...

Uh. First off, this is war, not Lasik surgery. When war is carried out in an urban setting, innocent civilians get killed. That's a fact. Why are we making so much ado about this. This isn't two enemies with different colored uniforms slugging it out on a remote battlefield somewhere where its last man standing wins. This is an urban setting where, if you choose to hide amongst the civilians, you endanger them too. That's a fact. Yeah... war sucks, but it isn't freakin' Stratego on a world map its war. And, war doesn't cut like a scalpel, it cuts like a broadsword. Do people actually expect politically correct war now? Robert E. Lee said it best, "It is well that war is so terrible lest we should grow too fond of it."

Anonymous said...

http://ussneverdock.blogspot.com/2005/01/bbc-is-turn-off-its-official.html

marvin said...

And again.

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